Story of Akshit
Akshit* just turned 13 years old. He was born in the suburbs of Kabul, Afghanistan. When the NATO retreated from Afghanistan in July 2021 and the Taliban took control over the country, he had already been in Germany. He has been living there since 2019. He came to the country with his father an older brother. His mother and younger sister could not immediately leave their home, but followed one year later, shortly after the birth of Akshit’s youngest sister. As Hindus, the family experienced religious persecution in the almost 100% Muslim Afghanistan.
Since arriving to Germany, Akshit moved several times. First, he lived in an emergency housing area for newly arriving refugees in the southwest of Germany. Then, the family was displaced to a temporary stay near Cologne. After several months they were able to move into an apartment in a long-term housing area.
Akshit is attending school, but because of the language barrier, he has been held back and attends classes with much younger students. But, he is happy. He struggled a lot in his first years, but now he feels at home. He has been living in one place for at least a year, making many new friends, getting better grades at school every day. He can see himself living here, as many of his family members already live in Germany. Some of them have been granted asylum, others, like his father, are living on a suspension of deportation. As long as his parents are granted asylum one day, everything will be fine, he says.
Because of the ongoing war in Ukraine, Akshit is no longer the only refugee in his class. Two Ukrainian girls just joined him at school. This is a new situation for Akshit: Now he is the one welcoming the new arrivals. He is happy that he can help them start their new lives in Germany because he knows exactly how it feels to be a foreigner.
Written by Annika Wrona